She rolled over in bed, sleepy eyes inviting in the soft dawn light. Her hand reached over before she could stop herself. It was a reminder he was gone.
A sigh escaped her lips and shuddered from her chest.
What a world it had become, when he disappeared. She thought she was ready for it. But she never was, even with the ones before. There were so many - and her soul swore she knew them all.
Maybe that is the problem with being a dreamer. Nothing seems impossible and everything feels probable. The best in everyone shines the brightest under the faint moonlight of an evening under the stars. That is how she liked to remember them: with the magic still churning.
She wanted to think he was different. The way he loved her, the way he left. The insatiable love of travel they shared, the undeniable chemistry everyone saw.
But he had the same panic the rest of them did. Closeness was always too much to handle. It made them all run.
Like the sun, everyone wanted to find her light, and turn their faces toward her as she shone. They wanted her energy, her life. They never wanted to get close though. They were always afraid of getting burned. So she was always giving, never feeling the true warmth from anyone else.
That night, though, when they met, she felt it deep. It wasn't much. They had barely talked. They hadn't even touched. From across the room, though, she could feel him.
After that, they spent all their moments chasing each other. Until he decided he had her and he stopped chasing. He had lassoed the sun and was content without reeling her in. She was attached, but never fulfilled and her light started to fade and cloud over. The more she tried to pull him in with the rope, the looser his grip got.
Before the end though, there was one night of beautiful hope. They exited friend's party - a bonfire in late spring. The warm promise of summer blew around them. It filled them with hope and images of days in the sun, together. She needed that. She needed the sun to give her back some of her energy.
He should have been her sun.
But in the moonlight, he was everything she needed. They spent too much time in the moonlight. It hid his imperfections and reflected only her light, illuminating his potential and promise.
That night, though, she let down her guard.
They came across a field of orange wildflowers as they meandered back to the car. She didn't remember seeing it in the daylight, when they arrived, but she let that go. She was so depleted that seeing the signs she knew so well was not even possible.
He poked her side, laughing. She jumped away. She hated that. He came back in for another jab and she quickly jumped the culvert into the field of orange flowers. Their petals shone, almost iridescent, in the reflection of light from the moon. As she ran through them, laughing, they fell under her feet, trampled.
She was no match for him, physically. His long legs and strength overtook her and she was pinned down in the patch of flowers. As she tried to struggle away, his fingers moving over her ribs, causing incessant laughter and pleads to stop, he found her hands and held her down. She submitted. When he felt her acquiesce, he slowly started kissing her lips and releasing her hands.
She smiled, smelling the fresh air around him, infused with the floral fragrance from all sides.
Two days later, he was more distant than ever.
Two days later, she was driving by the flower patch, but it was just a field.
The moon didn't shine for a week, and neither did the sun, as the two were shrouded behind a wall of impenetrable clouds. On the seventh day, she woke up, his eyes locked on her. He touched her cheek, sadness in his eyes, and said the words she had heard a million times in iteration of lifetimes before:
"I can't do this. I love you, but I just can't."
This time, she just let him go. She didn't fight it. She didn't spend days in bed. She didn't even call her friends.
She looked at the ocean, climbed the fences, tried to find the flowers. Then, she accepted they were never there, and the wild love she had longed to find her whole life was not a real idea, just a dream.
Sometimes acceptance is the heaviest form of grief. It pulls down everything you imagined. It destroys the life you thought you would have. Once you accept something, that is when the numbness really begins. Your smiles don't shine. Your laughter loses its sparkle. Your heart doesn't sing.
So this morning, two months later, when she reached for him again, her heart didn't fall.
Happenstance for a hopeful soul is the ignition to every dream.